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"The Book of Sand" is a short story written by Jorge Luis Borges, first published in Spanish in 1975. It was from his last major collection of the same name. Borges was born in 1899 and began publishing his poetry and essays in surrrealistic lierary journals in the early twenties. He later went on to much critical acclaim, sharing the first Priz International with Samuel Beckett. Borges was named director of the National Library of Argentina (Biblioteca National) in 1955, and served for nearly twenty years while almost entirely blind. Soon after resigning his position he wrote his story of a retired librarian and a very unusual book.
Designed in an artists' book format, in collaboration with Peggy Gotthold and Lawernce G. Van Velzer of Foolscap Press, the Nawakum Press edition of The Book of Sand was printed and bound at their press in Santa Cruz, California. Artist and printmaker Thomas Wood of Bellingham, Washington was comissioned to create the etchings for this bilingual limited edition.
The edition is published in one state:
30 copies, of which 24 are for sale. In Spanish and in English, the text is letterpress printed on Curtis Holcomb Text and handmade Cave Paper from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Garamond types were cast by Michael and Winifred Bixler of Skanaeteles, New York. Copper relief etchings, mirroring the style noted in the story, are designed into the text and printed from the copper plates on blocks mounted type high. They are accompanied by two large copper etchings printed by the artist, recessed into boards covered with Japanese book cloth and with a Cave Paper overleaf.
The peak roofed book, taking inspiration from the Biblioteca National, measures 11" x 13-1/2" and is housed in a covered box made from Cave Paper over boards. The cover label is letterpress printed on Cave Paper and inset with Japanese book cloth. The edition is numbered 1-24, with six lettered copies reserved for the Press. Each copy is signed by the artist.